August 15, 2012, 10:54 AM — To cope with the rising tide of iOS devices trying to use Apple's Bonjour discovery protocol on enterprise networks, Cisco recently announced that it is building a Bonjour gateway for its wireless LAN controllers. The company replied to nine follow-up questions after an online webinar for IT professionals about the product.
The gateway is intended to make Bonjour-based technologies like AirPlay and AirPrint better-behaved on enterprise networks. Some webinar attendees came away with some unasked or unanswered questions. Jameson Blandford, a technical marketing engineer with the gateway's product management group, replies via email below. (The webinar reply is available online.)
The behavior of Apple products on corporate networks is an urgent issue for many IT groups. Historically, Apple products used to be relegated to niches in big companies. But with the advent of the iPhone and now the iPad, most large U.S. companies have become Apple customers on a scale never before imagined. These devices use Bonjour, which is Apple's implementation of "zero configuration networking" or zeroconf, which is a group of open Layer 2 protocols to automatically and quickly set up an IP network, without having to set up services such as Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol, DNS and DNS Service Directory.
Apple devices use Bonjour to discover and link with each other, with printers running Apple's AirPrint software, and with devices like the Apple TV box, which acts like an interface between client iOS and OS X devices and flat panel TVs or selected Internet video content providers.